River Rush, the new $6 million water coaster slated to open in May at Dollywood’s Splash Country, is nearing the completion stages despite quite a burst of winter weather the past few months.
Officials said recently that it’s 95 percent complete and a Mother’s Day weekend grand opening is right on target. RiverRush will be the state’s first water coaster and will be visible from Veterans Boulevard at the western end of the park
If you’re familiar with Dollywood, and especially Dollywood’s Splash Country, River Rush will lay on over an acre of land in a newly-developed area between Splash Country’s Big Bear Plunge and Bear Mountain Fire Tower.
When it opens, RiverRush will transport riders up a conveyor belt before being propelled up hills and around curves. In all, it’s a four-story ride where riders climb 237 feet before making a 25-foot, 45-degree drop through tunnels, rapids and three more drops. It’s one minute and 20 seconds of thrilling splashes and drops.
Construction on River Rush officially started in August and was initially estimated to run to $5 million before a few unforeseen rocks got in the way causing project costs to increase.
In other park news, details of Dollywood’s 2014 expansion are expected to be announced this summer. It will be located on the site of Adventure Mountain, which closed at the end of last season. The project has been billed as as “a significant family attraction” in scope between the park’s $17.5 million Mystery Mine steel coaster and $20 million Wild Eagle, the first wing coaster in the U.S.
With Splash Country’s new water attraction and Dollywood’s Wild Eagle addition last year, Splash Country hopes to increase its attendance by about 10 percent to more than 400,000 visitors, according to park officials.
The water park will open a couple of weeks early this year to have Dolly Parton, who will be in town to kick off Pigeon Forge Springfest, present at its launch.
Dollywood opens to the public on March 22, 2013. Splash Country opens May 11, with a special opening on May 10 for season pass holders.